IDE and SATA hard drive controllers; what are they?

By VinceIP ยท 7 replies
Jan 15, 2007
  1. I recently bought a Western Digital 160 GB hard drive for around $60. Incredible price. But when I bought it, I didn't realize the difference between SATA and IDE. My motherboard is very old and only supports IDE as far as I know.

    The hard drive is SATA 3.0 GB/s, so I can't put it on my IDE motherboard. Someone told me to use an IDE/SATA controller. Can someone please explain to me what these are, and how I could use them to put my SATA drive on my IDE motherboard?

    Right now I've got a wimpy little Quantam Fireball 20 GB hard drive, with about 2 GB free (sigh, I love my BitTorrent...) My plan is, once I get my HD problem sorted out, to put Linux on my 20 gig and move Windows over to my 160 gig to set up a dual-boot. Would this be even possible? Would I have to just simply reinstall Windows altogether on the 160 gig?
  2. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    A controller is just an add-on card that can be put into a free PCI slot and used to connect hard drives. You can find a lot of SATA controllers on
    If you can return the drive, swap if for an IDE version. You should also make sure your computer and OS can support a drive larger than 128GB.
  3. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    A PCI SATA 150 controller card will run that hard drive perfectly well.
    They are very cheap and easy to get hold of so you should have no problems.
    The only thing to be aware of is that adding another hard drive will generate more heat, if I were you I would make sure you have adequate cooling.
  4. VinceIP

    VinceIP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Firstly, how can I check to see if my PC can support over 128 GB?

    About the cooling, that's a really good point. Until I can get a newer fan, I could simply get rid of my 20 GB drive to lower the heat output.
  5. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    To check whether your PCs supports large hard drives you will need to either read your motherboard manual or check on your motherboard manufacturers website.

    For cooling, it will all depend on whether your case has provision for more fans. You need to make sure that there is good air circulation or fitting in an extra fan will not make that much difference.
  6. VinceIP

    VinceIP TS Rookie Topic Starter

  7. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Those should work together perfectly well.
  8. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    I do not recommend running both IDE and SATA simultaneously. Although it will work - they question is for how long. Windows has a tendency to crash when running both types of drives. This is because during system errors windows tends to write boot information to an IDE drive and then the system will not recover until the IDE drive is removed. So if you go with a SATA controller, remove the IDE drive.
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